Ziva – "Duck…"

Ducky – "I only let Jethro call me that Ziva…"

--

"What have we got Duck?"

The ME was relatively new to Leroy Jethro Gibbs mannerisms, but didn't seem to mind a bit. "I can only give you my preliminary findings…I'll know more when I get him back to NCIS."

"I knew you were gonna say that…" Gibbs replied with a trying smile.

"Yes, well, did you know that I've only ever allowed one person to call me Duck?"

He shook his head. "Was it our dead guy?"

"No."

"Then no, I didn't."

Ducky was partly rejuvenated to be working with a man of such few words. It would compliment him nicely. "Yes, well, perhaps I will share that story with you sometime…"

Gibbs said nothing and got up to walk away. Ducky only smiled and peered down at the body. "Perhaps you'd like to hear the story?"


The day was coming to a close and he was signing the final forms to conclude his fifth case as the NCIS medical examiner; when he was startled by the opening of the autopsy doors.

"Ah, Agent Gibbs…how may I be of assistance?"

"Need those forms."

"I was just finishing them up. Planned on bringing them to you on my way up."

Gibbs stared at him for a few moments and Ducky took the hint. He quickly finished the forms and handed them to his new friend. After he did so, he switched off the lights and reached for his coat and hat. They entered the elevator together and shared a few moments of awkward silence.

"Did you get a chance to grab lunch today Agent Gibbs? Or dinner for that matter?"

"I don't like to take time out to eat, till I catch the guy."

Ducky glanced at his watch. "Well, unless I'm mistaken, that makes you free, in say, ten minutes, given your insistence on the paperwork?"

Gibbs smiled. "Subtle…"

"On me…" He smiled back at him.

"You do make more than I do…so how can I say no?"

"Good point…I'll wait for you to finish up…then it's my treat."


The restaurant was almost empty, except for a few teenagers, a lone waitress and the cook.

"Next time, I pick the place." Gibbs spouted in a joking manner, and Ducky picked up on it.

"Well, then be sure to catch the guys faster next time."

Gibbs was taken aback at Ducky's insistent comebacks. Perhaps he'd even met his match. "So tell me Duck…why NCIS?"

The ME smiled at the pet name. "Why not? I have en extensive military background…wanted to stay in my element. And I was ready for a change from the combat scene."

"I don't blame you." He took a sip of his drink. "You hoping to stick around for long?"

He smiled. "Depends, you planning on running me out the door?"

"Not at all, I just don't have a high success rate with new employees."

"Yes well, I am not your usual ME."

"I can see that, yeah."

There were a few moments of silence before Gibbs began the conversation again. "You talk to all your bodies?"

"Do you smack all your Agents in the back of the head?"

"Only when they deserve it."

"And I talk to my bodies when the situation calls for it, which is almost always."

"You don't care that people think it's crazy?"

He stifled a laugh. "And its common practice to head slap people now a days is it?"

Gibbs put his hands up. "Point taken."

Ducky managed a smile. "By the by, earlier today, when I referred to you calling me 'duck', let me be clear in saying, that it didn't bother me a bit."

"I would've kept calling you it regardless…"

The two shared a laugh. "I have no doubt you would've my boy…"

"So what's the story? Who's the other person in great company with myself?"

Ducky eyes glazed over a bit as he remembered. "My youngest brother…Jeremy…he insisted on calling me that, no matter how much I persisted."

"Why didn't you just head slap him? Works for me."

He took in a long breath. "He passed away when he was young…couldn't of been more than fourteen. No one has called me 'Duck' since then."

Gibbs was not expecting that response and regretted his previous remark. "I'm…wow, I'm sorry to hear that…I don't think I'm worthy to be in such company."

Ducky shook his head. "I quite enjoyed hearing it again actually…and don't worry, I have no doubt Jeremy would've liked you."

"Is that right?"

"Oh very much so…he was a man of few words, but when he spoke people listened."

Gibbs sat up straight. "I don't know what to say…"

Ducky lifted up his glass. "How about cheers…to new beginnings?"

Gibbs met his gesture. "I'll drink to that…Duck…"